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Richard Strauss: ready for the Millennium?

  • Judith Bingham, Brian Ferneyhough, Robin Holloway, Nicholas Maw, Christopher Rouse, David Schiff and Kurt Schwertsik...

Extract

Fifty years after his death, Richard Strauss remains a towering presence in the international concert and operatic repertoire — a firmly established master who remains ever controversial for the role he played as man and artist in the development of German music: as likely to be admired for the radicalism of his early works as to be dismissed for the supposed conservatism of his later ones. But what does this inescapable figure represent to today's composers? Inspiration, irrelevance or awful warning? Are there still fresh lessons to be learned from Strauss? Can he be seen, in any sense, anew? Here seven composers give an idea of what Strauss means to them, either in general or in terms of a single work. Brian Femeyhough's view of Salome was originally written for BBC Music magazine, and is reprinted from there by their permission, while David Schiffs contribution, also reproduced by kind permission of its original publishers, was originally part of a larger article in the New York Times revaluing 20th-century masters and entitled ‘Measuring the Heroes in Music's Valhal’

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